Biography of Michael J. Desmond

Michael J. Desmond, who for the fifth consecutive term is filling the office of city clerk of Sacramento and is one in whom the public trust is well reposed because of his unquestioned loyalty to the municipal welfare, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1861, his parents being William and Ellen (O’Leary) Desmond, both of whom were natives of Ireland and came to the United States in their childhood days, settling in Boston in 1851. They were reared in the same locality on the Emerald Isle and after attaining to years of maturity they were married. The father was a blacksmith by trade, and about the close of the Civil War, he came to California, locating first at San Francisco, where he conducted a smithy for some time. He was joined in 1868 by his family, his children being three in number, two sons and a daughter, of whom Michael J. is the eldest.

Between the ages of four and seven years, Michael J. Desmond pursued his education in Boston and afterward attended the public schools at Sacramento, the family removing to this city in 1871. He left school at the age of fourteen years and was then apprenticed to learn the boilermaker’s trade, at which he became an expert workman. He was employed in that capacity for eighteen years or until 1894, when he was elected clerk of the police court of Sacramento and served in that office for two years. In 1896 he was again called to public office, being elected city clerk and re-elected in 1898, 1900, 1902, and 1904, so that he is now serving for the fifth consecutive term, which will cover an incumbency of ten years without interruption. He is careful and methodical in the discharge of the duties of the office, and the work is done with a scrupulous regard to exactness and details that make his administration of the office a model one.

In the year in which he was first elected city clerk, Mr. Desmond was also married, his union being with Miss Mary Morley, a native of New Jersey and a daughter of William and Mary Morley, who came to California in 1877, locating in Sacramento. They have two children, Gerald and William. Mr. Desmond is a member of the Elks lodge and also is connected with the Woodmen of the World, while in his political affiliations he is a Democrat. In the city which has been his place of residence for a third of a century, he is widely known, and his large circle of friends, found among all classes of people, indicates that his life record is one that commands for him regard and goodwill.

Source: Leigh H. Irvine; A History of the New California Its Resources and People, 2 Volumes; New York and Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1903.

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